And other confessions

Happy Friday!

I’ve been working on a few short stories, just to keep my mind in writing as I tackle longer projects. I’ve sent one off to a competition so fingers crossed!

On facebook I had a request to write a story for a friend, and here is the result. I keep being very tempted to write about my University years and fictionalise them. It would be a very different genre of novel and voice than I usually use, so I’m still thinking. The working title for the project would be: University and other confessions.

So, here is the beginning;

First things first about moving into University. Despite being ridiculously excited for years, the night before I decided that I didn’t want to go. I was going to stay at home, see the friends I already had, maybe I’d get a job in the local shop. I don’t think I slept.

The next day, I decided to give it a shot. We carried the boxes and the bags up the winding stairs and dropped them on the single bed, ready to be unpacked later. I was itchy with excitement. My heavy, black computer was carefully placed beside the desk. My Mum managed to get trapped in the communal bathroom. She was shouting for help, banging on the heavy wooden door as I smiled a nervous hello to my new flatmates; Rob and Rob, and Rod. At least their names would be easy to remember.

Once security freed her, I ushered my family out of the flat and waved them away from the kitchen window. Goodbyeeee. Dear God, please don’t come back.

The bed was made, pictures stuck to the wall. Computer plugged in and speakers rattling with the sound of Panic! At the Disco. I heard the flat door opening, then slamming shut. I peered out from my bedroom. The corridor carpet had once been blue. It still was blue beside the skirting boards. The centre was grey and worn out with age. Oh, well imagine, As I’m pacing the pews in a church corridor, And I can’t help but to hear.

She said goodbye to her Mother and went to wave goodbye from the kitchen window.

Hi!

Hi there!

Did you want some help setting up your computer?

Yes!

It didn’t take long. I crawled under the desk, kettle-lead in hand. I threaded the mouse and keyboard wires down the back, against the faded green wall. Somewhere in the background, the Killers broke into song. Coming out of my cage, And I’ve been doing just fine.

I had an emo fringe and she had Avril Lavigne hair. I wore a black t-shirt and my nails were painted blue. She stacked UB40 and Offpsring CD’s on the desk and I offered Green Day as a swap. Her TV started tuning, the slow line inching across the screen. We had tea. Milky, but not too milky and two sugars in mugs that still wore price stickers.

We took a walk to explore the campus. It was an end of summer day, bright and warm with stretched-out clouds and golden light. I don’t remember who started skipping first. But we were flying across the manicured lawn.

There was a statue, half hidden behind flowers and long grass. A man, upright in bronze with his hands resting lightly in his lap. I don’t remember who asked, and who answered.

Who’s that?

Geoff!

But they were right. It was Geoff, and we laughed at the incredible coincidence. We laughed and laughed until we couldn’t stand. That was the moment I knew. No matter what happened, we would always be stuck together. There would always be me and you.

Tap, tap, tapping away!

These updates are getting embarrassingly few and far between! But I do have some exciting news.

Firstly, my book baby has sold over 100 copies, and I’m really thrilled by this. It’s still selling and I’m still getting lovely lovely reviews coming in which just make my day.

Secondly, Poisoned Well is finished! It’s been done for a while and I have a printed hard-copy ready for the second round of editing. So although I’ve not posted here for a while, things are happening behind the scenes.

Third and final, I’ve started working on a new book. So far it’s just one chapter but a start is a start and I can’t wait to get this project kick-started and off the ground. I currently feeling a little torn as to which direction the story-arc is going to go, so will have to resolve that before it gets much further on. So I’m spending a lot of time daydreaming!

Wish me luck and good luck to you all with your writing endeavors.

Fibi xx

Life Changing

Update

Well this is ridiculous, I was going to say happy {insert correct month here} to you guys, but I just got seriously confused about which month it is! This may say something about how tired I am! I’d like to say I’m Astonished but I’m not surprised.

As the title suggests there have been some life changing events as I’ve welcomed a baby into the world. It’s been a little busy, but the tiny beast is currently asleep so I’ve snuck away to take care of some typing!

I’m still working on the final three chapters of the Poisoned Well, and I’m so proud that this project is continuing, even if it is slowly! Line by line, paragraph by paragraph it will be finished!

Free Short Story

In the meantime a brand new release is available for download!

HopeCover

Hope is a second short-story from Arenith. It also takes place during the events of Burning Embers and has some characters you might recognize…

Burning Embers

I’ve also reached my second target of sales with Burning Embers! 50 copies sold! I know it’s a rather modest target, but I’m so excited to have so many people read my book. They seem to be enjoying it to! There are some new reviews popping up!

**** This story was gripping throughout, and you want to see Feia through her whole journey. Probably my favourite character was Vesta, Feia’s friend who winds up travelling with her. I couldn’t help but be swept up by her. There is a depth there that made me so vested in knowing more about her.

What I loved about this book was that it brought in so many strong women, but they were all strong in very different ways, and not all of them in a way that helped others. Feia herself developed far more strength as a result of being around these women, though she still found her own way of expressing and using it. – Pysgrad April 2018

*** I enjoyed Burning Embers. It certainly starts out with a bang… I wanted more. More of everything. But I think that will make me enjoy reading book 2 to satiate that craving. – March 2018

**** This was a really good book!! It was hard to put down! There is magic and a little romance and friendship all mixed in! – Dec 2018

Friends of Fibi

Finally, in my connection without writers and artists I’ve come across this author whose box-set is releasing this week!

The Isolde Saga

The Complete Story has just been released on amazon! A fresh box-set release this week it’s receiving excellent reviews and is a real gem of a find.

The Dead Walk. Magic Has Returned. The Netherworld Awaits.

Death plagues Isolde’s village and everyone thinks that the demon, Orlog, has returned from the northern wastes. Isolde knows it is true because she hears the demon’s voice whispering for her. But as the pox spreads, no one has time to listen to Isolde or her warnings.

The wanderer, Skaldi, hears Isolde though. He believes that she is telling the truth, because he knows that her future is tied up with the fate of the north lands. For Isolde is a netherwalker – one who can pass the veil of death unscathed, one who is a dancer between worlds! But Orlog knows the truth too and Isolde realizes that the demon never wanted her village… but only her soul!

While the land is torn apart by war, demons and the undead rise to rip apart the world. Isolde is forced onto an epic quest to end the evil that threatens her world. But it is not just her soul on the line, but the fate of all humanity.

The Isolde Saga is an epic fantasy series. If you like fast-paced adventure, heroic deeds against impossible odds, and magic darker than the abyss, then you will love this fantasy adventure.

Finally

I’ve updated my instagram and can now be found #bookstagram(ing) like a pro at greypixi.

I also just wanted to say a huge thank you for all of your support so far! Have a lovely May and happy reading.

Fibi xx

The uneducated rumbled Rube.

I’ll be honest – I had to look this daily prompt up and work out what it meant: Rube! It’s a word that I’ve never come across before. However, I have recently been writing a chapter where I think this is demonstrated…

The tower appeared on the road. Made from large grey stones, hewn from the local mountain side it was quickly lost in the canopy as they drew closer. It was a large square building with stables and cleared paddock beside it. A pair of bay horses looked up as they approached, tails shaking off the pestilence of summer flies. A large archway extended across from the side of the tower, over the road. Where the pillars of the arch ended, and on the far side of the tower, a stone wall extended. This was the border between Ipito and Staven.

They were forced to slow their horses, or charge through the guards who stood in the centre of the arch. Their helmets were rounded at the top and shone with polish. They were both tall, broad men wearing chain main beneath a tunic with the King’s crest emblazoned on the front. As Kit and Lyris approached, they levelled spears at the charging horses, the wooden butts pressed into the hard dirt and steadying the points. Kit’s pony was first to stop, skidding to a halt and twisting away. Kit turned her quickly and waved a greeting at the men.

Storm, always reluctant to obey anyone other than his own desires had run further and was forced to rear, kicking out at the spears. Lyris clung to his neck, praying that she wouldn’t fall off and break her neck, before they could rescue Arn. When the horse landed on his four feet again, huffing with fury, he danced on light feet and she remained, clinging to his main. Her legs and arms felt like water, flowing and trembling with every small movement. This was not the time to be afraid. The young woman forced herself to sit up. Sparrows were hopping between the pine trees and a hawk circled overhead, casting a shadow on the mottled ground.

‘Speak,’ the first guard demanded, ‘what is your business in Staven?’

‘Did a cart pass this way?’ The words tumbled free, breathless. Lyris had intended to introduce herself, thoughts of formal requests for help spinning through her mind. The young woman knew that she needed their assistance, and quick passage through the pass but despite the churning concern, the words came again before the guard could answer. Lyris steadied Storm with a hand against the tall horses’ neck.

‘Did a cart pass this way?’ She demanded, urgent.

The guard, affronted, glanced at his companion before, features stern. ‘Our question first, mistress.’

As Lyris opened her mouth to protest, he lifted a gloved hand from the spear and set the weapon on it’s end resting against his shoulder. The guard beside him copied his action and Lyris felt Storm release a breath of tension. Long legs quivering beneath her.

‘It’s our duty to stop and question all those who pass,’ confident that he had regained control the first man had settled into a slower speech and northern drawl. His a’s and r’s extending.

Kit had circled his pony again and drew level with his companion.

‘Sir,’ he bowed low across the front of the saddle, hand swept with dramatic gallantry to one side. The trader looked to Lyris, begging a moment of her patience before he continued. ‘We’re tracking a wagon that passed through these gates,’

The guards looked uninspired.

‘Has a wagon passed through?’

The young woman lifted her eyes to the heavens, the pale blue sky was starting to darken again. A natural rain was gathering at the peak of the mountain.  If they could move on with their journey, she could track Arn without draining her powers.

‘A lot of wagons’ pass through here, lad,’ the first guard lent on his spear, ‘but that doesn’t explain your business beyond the border.’

So this is more of an extract from the Poisoned Well and it’s the chapter responsible for slowing me down! The paragraphs from this section must have been written months apart but hopefully you can’t notice…

Take it from the top

I’m going to try and catch you up with my year behind the scenes. Something that has gone in the space of a Blink. However realising how enormous this subject is, I’m going to split it into a few sections and post over a few days.

This is my long promised post of the decisions I’ve made with self-publishing and how it’s all going so far…

The journey so far –

Last January I made the decision that Burning Embers was finally ready. It was a polished as a shiny squeaky thing and in the best shape that I could make it. With my dream of following a traditional publishing route I started to send BE out to agents.

I think it went well. I had a spreadsheet to monitor who I had e-mailed my book baby too, their contact details and what they required in their submission package. I even had a column with an approximate date of response. Generally I had positive feedback from agents and publishing houses that would accept direct submissions. I even accidentally sent it to a few self-publishing companies and received some encouraging results.

In the end however, the answer was no. I was told that Burning Embers was well-written, engaging, had excellent descriptions…but just wasn’t quite right for anyone’s list or didn’t suit their personal tastes. It was discouraging, but important to remember that this is a subjective business. I know that the opening of Burning Embers is tailored more towards literary fiction than a straight YA Fantasy-Romp. I also know that the book really hits its stride after the first six chapters (maybe I shouldn’t be so honest!) However, I also had faith that in the hands of readers who love fantasy, strong-female protagonists and want to be pulled into another world –it could really work.

One of the self-publishing companies did have this to say after requesting opening chapters:

‘Blimey exciting start, its made me think of Game of Thrones, Divergent and a female Uhtred of Bebbanberg all at once, which is a good thing – great imagery and sense of place. I think this would be very popular right now, with the right cover and mega saturation on social media, you will get noticed. I’m sure of that. Keep me posted as to how you get on with other publishers, I would love to work with you on this’ – In the end, this enthusiasm translated into an offer of publication with them for a much discounted fee.

In monetary terms they were willing to remove £500 from their usual price.  I really liked this company and probably would have published with them, however it was at the start of the year and I was determined to exhaust more ‘traditional’ enquiries first.

I also received an evaluation of Burning Embers:

‘The book is very well written and the story is original, exciting and engaging.  

The author creates a rich fantasy world with its own history and mythology. Feia is a sympathetic character and I enjoyed following her story.

I think fans of the fantasy genre will really enjoy this. It combines all the best traits of the fantasy genre but with an original twist. 

 An exciting story set in a rich fantasy world that will really appeal to readers. I can imagine this making an excellent series and, once hooked, I think readers will keep coming back for more.’ 

So what to do next?

I carried on writing.

I started with pieces of flash-fiction for competitions, and I even won a few. As a result of flash-fiction I was published in two additional books last year.

Amongst all the sting of rejection, I started the Poisoned Well a simpler, more linear YA Fantasy which was always going to be shorter than the 120,000 word beast that was Burning Embers.

The plan was to finish Poisoned Well and publish it on Wattpad.

Now Wattpad is amazing. It allows you to post you story in serial. You’re encouraged to post on a regular slot at least once a week and to interact with the community. This in turns generates ‘reads’ for your story and you gain followers. Followers who get excited about your work and are eager for the next instalment. Theoretically this can translate into sales of a book. One ‘success’ story of Wattpad recommends you have  the full text published on Amazon and provide that link to Wattpad, so your impatient readers can skip along and buy your book instead of waiting 30-odd weeks for the next part.

However, as I was sending BE out to agents at the time, I was aware I shouldn’t be publishing it anywhere online! This is where Poisoned Well was dreamt up – something that was specifically geared towards a Wattpad posting schedule. Another hint is to keep chapters at approximately 2000 words each, just enough to keep the story moving, but short enough to keep the reader engaged and hungry for more.

Then summer came around – and life changed. I’ve mentioned it in the occasional post, but over the summer I realised I was expecting a baby. Now among all the preparation for new life and feeling like I had the flu for a few months, I realised that I wanted my book baby project to be done. Signed off, sealed, delivered – fin. Burning Embers had been such a huge part of my life and in order to move on completely I would need to let it go. But it deserved more than staying in my desk drawer and on the computer. Because I’d been feeling so poorly, I’d also stopped writing Poisoned Well – a mere two chapters from the end! SO CLOSE!

So I decided to self-publish. All of the queries that were going to have a response had received one, and I’d exhausted the pool of agents I could harass. I had twittered, blogged, researched and finally it was decision time.

So what to do first?

Well, initially panic. I’d spent years reading articles about self-publishing, marketing, social media…and I immediately lost all confidence that I knew what I was doing and had to go back and re-read everything again!

Self-publishing – there are some big decisions to make. – this is where the next part of the story will continue…

Let me know what you think so far!

Happy Reading Fibi

xxx

Burning Embers: The Launch

Burning Embers is now available!

The wait is finally over…

Oh my goodness I’m so excited, and nervous.

For anyone that pre-ordered the e-book it should be currently downloading to your device of choice. For paperback pre-orders these should be in the post and on the way! I really hope that you enjoy Feia’s story and adventure through Arenith and I’m probably going to hide for a few days, until the verdicts come in.

In the meantime, I’m feeling hopeful and am delighted to share the very first review of Burning Embers with you. It made me go Sqeeeeeeeeeeeee for at least an hour when it appeared on Goodreads the other night.

stars“OMG THAT ENDING. I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book. I found it highly engaging and almost impossible to put down. I enjoyed the originality of the story line, and I found Feia very relatable.”  – Kelsay Calvaruso

I’m just going to take some time to digest this review…and panic about writing the second book in the series. (It seems my panicking is never done!)

Once you’ve ready my little bookbaby, if you have the time then please do remember to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads (or both!) It really does help other people find the book and other’s like it.

So here it is, Burning Embers.

 

Adobe Spark (3)

Amazon UK

Amazon US

I hope that you enjoy it! I’d love to hear from you, or see pictures of my book out there in the world!

I’m also running a giveaway, if you leave a review for Burning Embers and drop me an e-mail at fibijeeves@gmail.com I will enter you into a draw to win a signed paperback copy with limited edition artwork print.

Happy Reading and a wonderful weekend all,

Fibi xxx

Weaving Networks

I’m a left-handed dyslexic and I cannot Knit. I love to sew, paint, draw and I’ve even turned my hand to crochet and lucette; but I cannot knit. I’ve watched friends and family knitting, and they always ask why I’m frowning at them. I’m usually not, but I am glaring at the whirr of wool between their hands because it just doesn’t make sense. I’m sorry, I know it’s a terrible confession to make, but I can’t get my head around the way the knot on the needle joins with the other one-and-why-doesn’t-it-all-just-fall-off?!

Knitting, I just have to admit, is a skill I do not have.  This is also not due to a lack of kindly (and very patient) tutors. I’ve had to make my peace with knitting, and continue to observe it as a strange, wool-based-ritual that I may not join. What I remind myself – is that it’s okay that the tangle of wool has eluded me because I have other talents.

Now, in my head is a Thunderbirds countdown of Five, Four, Three, Two, One – lift off! This is because Burning Embers is released on Friday. ARGH! That’s right, Friday!!! For everyone that has pre-ordered a copy online, it should be downloaded to your screen of choice or posted to you on the 1st of December – ARRRRGH! Time for me to hide under the desk!

It’s funny how this has come about though, this book. It’s been in the pipeline for so long, but it’s the way my writing interlinks with the rest of my life which has pushed it to the forefront now. Expecting our first little one in the New Year, meant that I was determined to pull this project to an end. So the decision was made to self-publish. All these choices are carefully interwoven, like fine threads that tug and pull on each other.

Having decided to self-publish, I realised that I had done all of my research…and that I still didn’t know enough to give Burning Embers the best shot at life, out there in the big world. So I joined a few groups of facebook, and the wealth of experience and advice has been astonishing.

When fellow indie authors are posting about how they’re selling 500 paperbacks a month, and how can they increase this? I just about fall of my chair in a scramble to grab the computer and shout ‘tell me all of your secrets!’ I feel like I’ve made connections with lovely people, who are all stitching together their books and projects with the same passion and enthusiasm I commit to my own work. It’s a beautiful community. Join us!

I’m compiling information and experimenting across the internet and I fully intend to share my findings with me.

However, in this final run up to the release of Burning Embers wish me luck (and positive reviews!)

Remember you can still pre-order a copy of the paperback and the e-book online, and for a short story from the world of Arenith, The Last Charter is available through instafreebie. Nearly 100 copies have been snatched up already, so make sure that you don’t miss out!

Happy Reading!

Let me know what you goals for this week are!

Fibi

Short Story Release! The Last Charter

Happy Friday Everyone!

Just a sneaky little update for today – woohoo!

Burning Embers is set in Arenith, an empire that has been crumbling for three hundred years. Now, with all of the edits to bring my novel to print and publication; chapters and additional story arcs have been brutally hacked away; until now.

I’m delighted to release: The Last Charter. It’s a short story set in the world of Arenith and might just tie in with the events of Burning Embers… but I’m not giving too much away about that!

The Last Charter is available for free download: here!

Adobe Spark (1)

I hope that you enjoy it! I love hearing from you all, so please feel free to leave comments about the cover or the story itself!

There will be more short stories from Arenith to follow, along with some from the other worlds that are floating around in my imagination.

In the meantime – two weeks before Burning Embers is released! Argh! You can still pre-order on Amazon, or for a signed copy with limited artwork print directly from yours truly: Shop.

Happy Reading!

Fibi xx

To strut, to saunter, to parade and promenade

There was an interview with David Jason aeons ago, where he said that the first thing he finds in a character, is the walk. Trying to move away from aesthetic descriptions of my heroes and heroines in Burning Embers, I keep this idea in mind. How much of a person can be given away by their movements?

We all have tells, and unconscious signals that we share with the world. Something I find successful in layering my characters, are the small motions that they make when nervous. They’re not something I telegraph to my reader, but you’ll often find my protagonists or their companions putting their hands to their faces.

What does it mean when someone covers their mouth when speaking? Does it mean that they’re lying, or they don’t really want you to hear what they say? Some people when nervous scratch the back of their necks, or fiddle with their clothes. What about a character who gives nothing away, who is conspicuous by their lack of nervous responses? Are they without fear, or are they afraid of something even bigger.

I feel that I have digressed from the daily prompt: Strut, but I guess that’s why we’re given them; to roam freely on a subject and see where we will land.

Updates from the week:

I was featured as a guest blogger for Black Hart Story Tellers – they’ve published my hints and tips for writing horror that can be found: here

Secondly, I’m delighted to announced that for those who purchase a signed first edition copy of Burning Embers from fionajeeves.com will also receive a limited edition, numbered print with their book! Only 50 5” x 8” prints will be made to go alongside the release. I would love to know what you think!

watermarked.png

 

Paperback Pre-Order! Woooo!

Second post of the day!

First of all, you might notice that you have been re-directed to FionaJeeves.com! There have been some changes and I’m working hard to update this new site to make it look beautiful.

Secondly – and even more exciting! It is with great delight and excitement that I can tell you that Burning Embers is now available to pre-order in paperback! Yes, that’s right Mum you can pop over to amazon to order the book and hold it in your hands.

Burning Embers  – Amazon

Book!

Please bear in mind that Amazon is currently showing the book as out of stock – this isn’t the case, it’s just on pre-order until the 1st of December.

In the middle of November the publishers will send Amazon all the books that have been ordered and Amazon will distribute them as usual. Exciting stuff!

I will also be selling signed copies from my fibijeeves! If you would like a signed copy you’re able to purchase it directly from me. Hooray!